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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review and ARC Giveaway for ONE FINE COWBOY by Joanne Kennedy

 This story gives you an easy and smooth reading ride.
One Fine Cowboy  by Joanne Kennedy
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402236700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402236709
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
MBS Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

When brilliant, beautiful graduate student Charlie Banks came to Wyoming for a conference on horse communication, the last thing she expected to get was a lesson in love from sexy horse trainer Nate Shawcross. While Nate’s always had a way with horses, it’s the women in his life who have left him with romantic scars. But when Nate enlists Charlie to help him rehabilitate an abused stallion, she can’t help but be wooed by his soft touch and gentle voice. And though he’s been burned in the past, Nate is finding it harder and harder to hide his heart from the sexy greenhorn.

This story made me think of the Rolling Stone song lines: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just mind find, you get what you need.”

Charlie Banks is a psychology graduate student whose boss has arranged for her to go to a dude ranch to learn how cowboys communicate with horses. The ironies and twists start early in the story as we learn that Charlie is a PETA supporter who thinks riding horses is cruel. Then she discovers that Nate doesn’t know anything about his working ranch being a “dude” ranch with horse clinics. There isn’t any plan, there isn’t any food and the place is a shambles not even set up for anyone else to sleep one night, much less stay for a week or more.

Nate is already struggling to keep his ranch, especially since his ex-girlfriend, Sandi, wiped out his accounts and took off.  Then he learns that Sandi decided she’d make some quick money from deposits for horse clinics and leave him with the consequences when people started showing up.

Charlie begins to play housekeeper as the other “clients” show up. First there is an older woman, Doris, who is experienced on a ranch but came for the clinics on horse training. Then there is a teenage goth, Phaedra, who is about as sullen and rebellious as they come. Finally Phaedra’s father shows up for bonding time and he is quite a surprise as a movie star cowboy who hasn’t seen Phaedra since she was a little girl.  Everyone pitches in, even allowing Charlie to make vegan dishes (on a ranch?) for herself and Phaedra. Each character adds a dynamic about family relations that adds to Charlie’s confusion and challenges some conceptions her mother has drilled into her, especially about men leaving their children behind.

Charlie is annoyed and frustrated as it appears Nate is hiding secrets in an upstairs room that has Charlie thinking of dead girlfriends hidden away. But Charlie is truly shocked when she finds out that Sandi took something more important than Nate’s money. She discovers the secret when Sandi shows up back at the ranch with Nate’s six year old, precocious daughter, Sam. Sandi is a piece of work and she will use anything she can, including Sam, to threaten or manipulate Nate into giving her half of his ranch.

There are lots of fun quirks and dialog in this story, like a horse named “Honey” who causes Charlie to think Nate is being fresh with her when they first meet. The biggest ironies are a city girl set on saving the world with “important work” who sure doesn’t want to get distracted by a cowboy, no matter how hunky; and a cowboy with a plan for his ranch and no time to be distracted by a city girl, no matter how sexy and helpful. Charlie and Nate are flawed with past hurts and preconceptions to overcome. But this story shows that life often has a way of changing dreams and plans and melding them into something that works for everyone.  

This is a fun, curl up in a comfy place and enjoy read.
Thank you to Sourcebook for the book to read and review.

1.  Tell me if you have ever been to a dude ranch OR
Leave a meaningful comment on the review; OR

Alternative comment: visit the author's website and tell me something you learned there. Please leave your e-mail!

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(Three total entries possible.)
It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.

* This contest is only open to residents of US and Canada.
* This contest will close 10:00 PM (Central) on October 8, 2010. The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.

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